Smuggling Of Migrants Into,through And From North Africa

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Smuggling of migrants into,through and from North AfricaA thematic review and annotated bibliographyof recent publications

This publication is made possible through funding received from the European Union.Cover image: Sub-Saharan migrants leaving from Agadez (Niger) in order to reach the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, 2006 SID and CeSPI.

UNITED NATIONS OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIMEViennaSmuggling of migrants into, throughand from North AfricaA thematic review andannotated bibliography ofrecent publicationsUNITED NATIONSNew York, 2010

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, May 2010The opinions, figures and estimates set forth in this publication are those of the author and should not necessarily beconsidered as reflecting the views of the United Nations.The presentation of material in this publication does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the partof the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city, area or authority,nor the delineation of its frontiers or boundaries.Publishing production: UNOV/DM/CMS/EPLS/Electronic Publishing Unit.

AcknowledgementsThe present publication was prepared by Paola Monzini and is published by the United Nations Office on Drugs andCrime. Special gratitude is extended to Sebastian Baumeister, Marika McAdam, Fabrizio Sarrica and Lisa Pagliettifor their valuable contribution to the work.This publication is made possible through funding received from the European Union.iii

ContentsPageI.Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1II.Quantifying irregular migration and smuggling of migrants. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5Quantifying smuggling of migrants. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5Estimates of irregular migration. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5Estimates of irregular migration through and from North Africa to Europe. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5Estimates of irregular migration in North Africa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6Conclusions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8Migrant smuggling routes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9Air routes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9III.Sea routes to Europe. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10Land routes to North Africa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13Conclusions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15IV.Profiles and characteristics of smuggled migrants. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17North African migrants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17Sub-Saharan migrants. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18Non-African migrants. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18Profiles of migrants in relation to the smuggling methods used. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19Social organization of irregular migrants in North African countries. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19The migrant on the move. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20Conclusions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21V.Smuggler-migrant relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23Social profiles of smugglers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23Factors that shape the relationship. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23Dependency. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24Conclusions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24VI. Organizational structures of migrant-smuggling networks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27Organizational structures of migrant smuggling by sea. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27Organizational structures of migrant smuggling by land. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28Conclusions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30v

VII. Modus operandi of migrant smuggling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31Modus operandi of migrant smuggling by sea. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31Modus operandi of migrant smuggling by land to North Africa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33Conclusions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35VIII. Smuggling fees. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37Factors that determine fees. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37Fees. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37Method of payment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38Conclusions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38IX. The human and social costs of smuggling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39The human costs: suffering and death of migrants during travel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39The social costs of smuggling: when migration fails. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41Smuggling and crime trends. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41Conclusions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42X.Summary of findings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43Research on smuggling: difficulties and promising approaches. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43Main substantive findings and needs for further research. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43XI. Annotated bibliography. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47vi

IntroductionThe United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) commissioned the present publication in orderto contribute to the understanding of migrant smuggling into, through and from North Africa and thus tofacilitate the formulation of evidence-based policies to address this issue.“Smuggling of migrants” is defined in article 3 of theProtocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land,Sea and Air, supplementing the United NationsConvention against Transnational Organized Crime,1as “the procurement, in order to obtain, directly orindirectly, a financial or other material benefit, of theillegal entry of a person into a State Party of which theperson is not a national or a permanent resident”.Article 6 of the Protocol requires the criminalization ofsuch conduct and that of enabling a person who is not anational or a permanent resident to remain in the Stateconcerned without complying with the necessaryrequirements for legally remaining in the State byproducing a fraudulent travel or identity document, orprocuring, providing or possessing such a document, orany other illegal means in order to obtain a financial orother material benefit.Based upon this definition, the purpose and scope ofthis publication is to survey existing sources and researchpapers on smuggling of migrants into, through andfrom North Africa reflecting the current state ofacademic knowledge, as well as knowledge gaps anddiscussions on the subject. This study has two main1United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 2241, No. 39574.objectives: to describe major findings on smuggling ofmigrants into, through and from North Africa, and tohighlight the need for further research on specific issuesthat have not yet been studied and on areas where littleanalysis has yet been carried out.The publication reviews literature that has beenpublished by academics, journalists, internationalorganizations and non-governmental organizations.The reviewed literature was selected on the basis ofits thematic relevance and date and the language ofpublication: only publications in English, French andItalian were reviewed. The research does not pretend tobe comprehensive.As far as the geographical scope of the review isconcerned, it is important to note that it actually goesbeyond the North African countries, because irregularmigration and smuggling flows are transnational innature; they often originate and/or end in the NorthAfrican region. For this reason, sub-Saharan Africanand European countries are also considered. Thepresence of smugglers is recorded mainly in relationto crossing of the Sahara Desert and the maritimepassages to Europe. Thus, while the main focus of thereview is on North African countries (Algeria, Egypt,1

2Smuggling of Migrants Into, Through and From North Africathe Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Morocco and Tunisia),literature considering countries of origin and transitsuch as Mali, the Niger and the Sudan, and countries ofdestination and transit, such as Greece, Italy and Spain,has also been reviewed to some extent. As far as theroutes to Europe are concerned, those ending in Spainhave not been given the same attention in this review ashave journeys ending on Italian shores. Some of themost important theoretical research papers publishedon the subject of migrant smuggling in general havealso been considered. here statistical data and other figures are quoted, refWerence is made to their source. The review is dividedinto thematic chapters that review research publicationson the following topics: Q uantifying irregular migration and smuggling ofmigrants into, through and from North Africa The geography of migrant smuggling routes Profiles and characteristics of smuggled migrants Smuggler-migrant relationships O rganizational structures of migrant-smugglingnetworks Modus operandi of migrant smugglers Smuggling fees Human and social costs of smugglingFinally, the thematic review presents a summary ofmajor findings, highlighting the challenges of carryingout research into the issue of migrant smugglingand the gaps in that research. The review is complemented by an annotated bibliography of the reviewedliterature.

chapter ONE: introduction3The Mediterranean Sea and adjacent regions1 BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA2 CROATIA3 SERBIA4 MONTENEGRO5 SLOVENIA6 THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF R.F. LITHUANIABELARUSPOLANDUKRAINECZECH REP. SLOVAKIAAUSTRIAREP.OF MOLDOVASWITZERLAND5 2HUNGARYROMANIALIECHTENSTEIN1 3ANDORRASAN ITALYBULGARIA4GEORGIA6MONACO MARINOSPAINHOLY SEE ALBANIAARMENIA AZERBAIJANTURKEYGREECESYRIANTUNISIACYPRUS ARAB IRAQSENEGALGAMBIAGUINEA-BISSAU GUINEASIERRA TEGYPTBAHRAINUNITED ARABSAUDI CAN REP.CAMEROOND'IVOIRE TOGOEQUATORIAL GUINEASAO TOME AND OPIAUGANDACONGODEMOCRATICREPUBLIC OFTHE CONGOSOMALIAKENYARWANDABURUNDIUNITED REP.OF TANZANIACOMOROSANGOLANAMIBIAZAMBIAMALAWIZIMBABWE ASCARM

II. Quantifying irregular migration andsmuggling of migrantsChapter II reviews the literature with a view to quantifying the smuggling of migrants and irregularmigration into, through and from North Africa. Estimates concerning irregular migration are also consideredon the assumption that irregular migrants with no legal channels for migration are likely to resort tomigrant smugglers.Quantifying smuggling of migrantsAn overall estimate of smuggling of migrants into,through and from North Africa has not yet been made.Research reports at the country level do not presentprecise data with regard to migrant smuggling. Little isknown about the proportion of irregular migrants usingsmuggling services. In a survey carried out in Morocco,87 per cent of sub-Saharan migrants arriving in thatcountry were reported to have used the services ofsmugglers (Mghari, 2008, p. 8). As far as travel toEurope is concerned, almost all the migrants comingirregularly from Africa by sea seem to be serviced bysmugglers: according to a recent analysis, while it istheoretically possible to travel clandestinely from Africato Europe without the support of migrant smugglers,this is very difficult to manage in practice today(UNODC, 2006, p. 7).Estimates of irregular migrationThe recent literature points out how difficult it is toprecisely quantify irregular migration flows into,through and from North Africa. As Düvell (2008a) hasremarked, the hidden population of irregular migrantsis very difficult to quantify and existing figures are oftenimplausibly low or unbelievably high. The problem ofquantitative estimates is a significant one for NorthAfrica, as for other geographical areas. As Jandl (2004)has noted with regard to studies carried out in Europe,many methodologies exist for estimating the size ofpopulations of irregular migrants living in a countryand/or the number of irregular entries, and often thesemethodologies produce very different estimates of thesame phenomenon. Regarding estimates of irregularmigration through the Mediterranean, Collyer (2007,pp. 264-265) underlines that there is very limitedempirical evidence, as the number of people arrestedis the only reliable basis on which these estimates areusually made.Estimates of irregular migration through andfrom North Africa to EuropeComprehensive and precise estimates of irregularmigration through and from North Africa to Europedo not exist, but partial evaluations have been made inrecent years. For example, in 2004, the movement5

Smuggling of Migrants Into, Through and From North Africa6of irregular migrants by sea was calculated by theInternational Centre for Migration/Policy Development (ICMPD), which estimated at 100,000 to 120,000the number of irregular migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea each year, of whom 35,000 come from thesub-Saharan region, 30,000 from other countries and55,000 from countries bordering the Southern orEastern Mediterranean (see De Haas, 2007, p. 36).According to UNODC assessments, the numbers arehigher: possibly as many as 300,000 African migrantstry to reach Europe without proper documentation eachyear (ibid.) and smugglers are involved in many of thesemovements. More precisely, at least 200,000 Africansenter Europe illegally annually, while another 100,000try but they are intercepted, and countless others losetheir way or their lives (UNODC 2006, p. 5).2by introducing new requirements for entry andresidence. In some cases, changes in the law havealso affected the status of migrants who were alreadysettled: this has meant that such persons may becomeirregular even when they have not deliberately breachedmigration laws (Fargues, 2009).While in the early 2000s the alarm was raised about theincrease in irregular African migration into SouthernEurope (see Sandell, 2005), other numbers currentlysupport a different, and indeed opposite, view. Forexample, estimates recently published by the Inter national Organization for Migration (IOM) suggest alower number of migrant crossings, at least from WestAfrica. According to its estimates, around 25,000 WestAfricans enter Europe by successful irregular crossingseach year, accounting for 20-38 per cent of the overallestimated population of 65,000-120,000 sub-Saharancitizens entering the Maghreb countries yearly (IOM,2008, p. 42). Italian sources also testify to a decline inthe African population in Italy in recent years.3 The lowpercentage of African migrants among the totalpopulation of migrants entering Europe, especially ifcompared with the East European component ofmigration flows, is also noted by Péraldi (2008).One of the first articles supporting this thesis waswritten in 2004 by a Tunisian scholar (Boubakri, 2004).More recently, other experts have confirmed andexpanded the validity of his approach (De Haas, 2007).Different authors describe migrati

through and from North Africa has not yet been made. Research reports at the country level do not present precise data with regard to migrant smuggling. Little is known about the proportion of irregular migrants using smuggling services. In a survey carried out in Moro

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